The bustling tradeport capital of The Isles of Orlend.
Before The RuptureAs one of the earliest settlements in Orlend, Bradstowe grew along the river banks and started as a small fishing town that flourished into an industrial age of shipbuilding. The city has been historically known for defending itself from invaders due to its strategic position on the river, allowing a clear line of sight out to sea enabling them to prepare for any naval threat. This location also meant the city could tax any vessels that wanted to go further upstream to other settlements for trading.
Diverse DisruptionFifty years ago, The Rupture brought chaos on a global scale with rifts opening to unknown realms. Through these portals came terrifying beasts, deadly diseases, but also new kinds of folk, wealth, and magic. As a result, Bradstowe now hosts a more diverse population of folks and has greater access to new technology, magic, and education. Forming allies rather than trying to conquer and expand beyond the rifts has paid off in more ways than gold.
The RiftsThere are 3 planar rifts near city: one upstream of the river that leads to a barren wilderness, one beyond the Scholar's District where many of the dangerous beasts came through that is heavily guarded, and the closest rift near the Westbury District leads directly to a foreign settlement home to elegant ratfolk.
There are 15 districts in Bradstowe: 7 on the Selithen side of the river and 8 on the Aurward, all offering a unique experience as you take in the sights and sounds of the city. You might want a local tour guide for some of them though, and make sure your coin purse doesn't clink. Here's the three things you should check out in each one, if you start in Eastbank and hire an open carriage you can tour the lot in one trip!
Old Port District
- The busy city dockside and fish markets
- Harding Distillery and whiskey bar
- The iconic brightly painted factories with saw-tooth rooftops
- The Museum of Mudlarking, displaying treasures recovered from the river mud
- Bradstowe Royal Embassies and Courthouse
- Bradstowe Guardhouse and Museum of Confiscated Arts, including the famous painting seized during The Taint of Tarnton
- The imposing and indomitable Aldgate High Security Prison
- The Royal Bank of Orlend safely guards public and private funds deep within its vaults
- At the Exchange Hall you can buy and exchange different currency types useable across the realms
- The Guildhall is the place to find associations, clubs, guilds, and fine establishments to join.
- Bradstowe Carriages will take you anywhere you need to go in the city and different mounts and carts are available depending on if you'd prefer cheap practicality or lavish style
- There are many residential neighbourhoods in Eastbank and this district is also well known for excellent barbers and stylists.
- The Highcross District is run by the Redhilts Gang and is home to artisinal markets and prolific weaponsmiths. You can find anything if you look hard enough... just don't cause trouble that you can't afford.
- Westbury is the most diverse neighbourhood of Bradstowe with many refugees and migrants settling in from the nearby rift. Roads and temporary structures are gaining more permanence as the population sprawls towards the open portal.
- The Newport District is loud all night and day with busy dockworkers loading and unloading cargo or toiling away on the construction of new vessels in the shipbuilder's yard.
- Westbank is home to some wealthy neighbourhoods in Bradstowe. The ruins of Glendale Asylum is a haunting reminder of how The Rupture introduced monsters to the world, and most of them were in Melior the whole time.
- This district is home to the prestigious Bradstowe University, the Cartographic Society, and many private establishments researching new sciences, medicines, and magic.
- The Upper Quarter is both physically and socially on the higher side of the river and is home to some of the wealthier inhabitants of the city.
- Neighbouring the Upper Quarter, Greenwell Avenue hosts a bespoke shopping experience where one can find tailors, enchanters, and jewelers. An evening's entertainment can be spent at the Theatre Royal for performances in song, dance, and spectacle.
- Easton Side is the largest development of new housing for the growing population of the city. The homes here have new innovations like glowtech lighting and heating systems.
Guilds & GroupsFrom the local drink 'n' draw to the esteemed Bradstowe Cartographic Society, there are guilds and groups for all kinds of folks about the city. Large establishments are registered at the guild hall in the Financial District and a rota of meetings occur throughout the month that are both closed and open to the public. For those seeking hefty coin and powerful connections, the Redhilts Gang can be found operating from the High Cross District, which they've held control of and run efficiently since The Rupture. If it's lifelong friendship and adventures your grandchildren will beg to be retold, then the humble Spunkhearts welcome you for a beverage of choice a The Hungry Hound, right by the Old Bridge in the Architect's District.
Industry & MagicThe streets of Bradstowe thrum with the whirring gears of progress and new technologies advancing in tandem with magic have streamlined the production of machinery and tools being used in the city. Quality of living has improved a thousandfold with upgrades to the public sanitation and water treatment in the city. New heating systems keep homes warm in the bitter cold of winter and mechanical pumps supply everyone with safe drinking water. Waste water is treated by a filtration system and finally purified by workers using magic before it returns to the river again - as a result, the river is becoming much clearer and you can even see fish swimming in there!
BridgesThe muddy River Holbeck is broad and deep enough to accommodate the flow of busy water traffic and magnificent steamships. Smaller vessels make their way down from Chepford with artisinal goods, and the larger boats venture out to sea beyond the Bay of Bradstowe. Four grandoise bridges span the river, each marking significant technological advancements of the city:
- Considered a marvel of engineering, East Bridge is a suspended structure that spans the highest elevation either side of the river.
- The remarkable Old Bridge leads directly into the Architect's District and is a sturdy stonebrick construction that supports a small run of shops that have funded its upkeep for centuries.
- Further downstream between the two port districts is Dawson's Bridge - a towering vertical-lift bridge of steel that raises its platform up high to let ships pass through.
- Closest to the estuary is the newly constructed West Bridge that has two central sections that open up like a drawbridge as the ships depart the city on their voyage to foreign ports.
TransportFor travel across the city most folks hail a horse-drawn carriage as riding is restricted to only the regional and city guard. The city is traversable on foot and the new trend of bicycles have become fashionable for quickly going about the busy streets. Small river ferries take tourists along the waterways of the city and large ships board frequently for both short voyages to other ports in Orlend or long voyages overseas. Exciting new developments to transport are underway as a railway is under construction from Bradstowe leading along the coast to the city of Dunstol. It will be the first of its kind in Orlend and will increase trade between the two industrious ports.
TradeBradstowe has flourished from its trade overseas but since the rifts opened across Melior into new planes of existence there is now a massive demand for interplanar trading. The city has expanded along new roads branching out to the three nearby rifts that have opened nearby. Even though only one of these rifts leads to a foreign settlement, the other rifts are just as busy where investors are setting up business just on the other side to be exempt of the governing laws of Orlend.
ImportsTrade ships bring in many desirable materials that the Isles of Orlend can't keep up with in production such as paper and cotton. Rare and exotic goods fetch a high price in the city markets, and highly guarded shipments of gold supplement the Bank of Orlend's vault. Industrial imports of wood, steel, barac and rope are all offloaded straight to the shipyards for the construction of new steamships. Through the rifts, many new types of building materials are brought through on carts and wagons for use in construction or luxury goods like fine musical instruments.
ExportsBradstowe is famous for its exports of blue glass, canned fish, and alcohol (such as Harding Distillery Whiskey and William Liquor). The port also ships goods from the rest of Orlend including fish, wool, oxskin, clothing, and tin.
City LivingWith the predominant religious following being that of The Originator's Order, life in the city can feel very structured and rehearsed to new folks visiting Bradstowe. The very streets run on rules and the busy crowds flow with unspoken etiquette that tourists find hard to grasp. The inner city is well maintained and kept clean from litter, and there are fines in place in the Architect's District for making a mess (which is challenging for carriage owners).
HousingBradstowe is densely populated and many of the terraced houses are cramped and occupied by several generations of the same family. Only the wealthier occupants of the city can afford to use the rooms spaciously as advertised in brochures. While many properties have tiny gardens, they often just have an outhouse and a washing line to dry clothes. While much of the city was designed by and built for a population of humans, fauns, and corvidans, newer buildings are much more accommodating of the different body shapes, heights, and mobilities of other folk kinds who have come to call Bradstowe their home. Houses are only numbered evenly due to number superstition spread from the Jolundrian Empire.
WorkMany folks earn their coin working at the canning factory, dockside, or in the shipbuilder's yard. From humble craftsfolk to established engineers, there are ample opportunities for merchants plying their trade in Bradstowe's busy markets!
LeisureFor enjoyment, many folks play board and card games like gauntlet, sing and play musical instruments, practise artistic hobbies, or partake in sports. Bradstowe offers many bars, clubs, and guilds to participate in social activities, too.
Virtue and Industry
Bradstowe High Cross
A large, tower-like structure at the heart of Bradstowe.
The Originator's Order
The longstanding state religion of the Jolundrian Empire who believe in an orderly life led by The Architect's plans.
The largest place of worship for The Originator's Order in the capital of the Isles of Orlend.